I try very hard to avoid doctors, but not quite as hard when it comes to lawyers and used car salesmen. My wife insisted that I schedule a check-up, so I did. After waiting the usual and customary 45 minutes past the scheduled appointment time, I finally was ushered into one of the examination rooms. The first thing out of the doc's mouth was to ask me where I've been. Being the truth sleuth that I am, my reply was direct and to the point: I've been busy. He curtly reminded me that the last time he saw me was over two years ago; I guess he missed me. What's a guy to do? I told him that I was there at my wife's request to get a complete physical; he thought that I was there for Viagra - no chance of that, Bud. And that's what happened. After another 90 minutes in his office on that day of getting poked and prodded, over four hours the next Saturday, and three more that following Thursday, the results were in: I am physically fit as a horse, just plain awesome, and an all around nice guy who just needs to lose ten pounds. But, I already knew that. I think the doc was upset because he had no reason to proscribe some kind of pill for me. And if you are ready for it, the real excitement begins when the Explanation Of Benefits (EOB's) from your insurance company begin to stuff your mailbox.
To humor myself, I added up the "total charges" for this, that, and every other thing that was done to me. Those "total charges" were well over $10,000.00. Now mind you, I was not in a hospital; all that stuff took place in the doc's office. If you don't know how to read those EOB's, that news can give you a heart attack. But there is "good news," and it ain't the gospel. When your doc is a "participating provider" ( labs and hospital too ), he accepts a lower, pre-determined fee for the provided service. Simple logic begs the question: since the doc/provider has agreed to the predetermined fee for the service, why the hell submit a charge that is no where near that predetermined fee? I can only hazard to guess. When reading over an EOB, the important thing to you is the column that tells you how much you owe. And, zero dollars always is a good thing. Well what the hell, I am still tickled purple that I can fire one doctor and hire another. To me, they are subcontractors hired to do a job.
By the way, what is black and brown and looks really great on a lawyer? A really hungry Rottweiler. Do you know where used car salesmen go when they die? They are reincarnated as insurance salesmen. And what happens when doctors go to the great beyond? They reincarnate as the accountants for insurance companies.
Copyright @2012 Terry Unger
This was posted before The Affordable Care Act.